Yesterday, it was announced that the Department of Public Safety in Oklahoma created a law that would ban hoodies, and masks from being worn in public when participating in illegal activity. The decision is supported by the Senator Don Barrington, after a string of robberies at quick stop places like pizza shops and drugstores were caught on camera and the criminals were wearing hooded sweatshirts. This law is seemingly not racially motivated.
Allegedly hoodies and masks are still allowed as a part of a costume on Halloween, religious rituals or when the weather is bad. However, if wearing one and arrested, you could be fined from $50-500 and put in jail for a year.
This law immediately conjures up thoughts of Trayvon Martin, who was innocently wearing a black hoodie when George Zimmerman followed and killed him in Florida in 2012. While it’s been four years since the tragedy, such details remain a springboard for discussions on racial profiling in America. Trayvon’s hoodie became a symbol of that, with many critics (unfairly) claiming he’d still be alive today if he hadn’t worn one.
While the law seems to be well-intended to dissuade future crimes from happening, because of Martin’s murder, there is an extremely somber undertone to the law’s existence. Would this have helped Martin if Florida contained a similar law? But then again, he wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was still attacked for being a Black teenager and just happened to be wearing a common piece of clothing.
And isn’t it odd for the state to be giving criminals this sort of heads up? If you’re going to do wrong, at least don’t wear this while doing it. Back in March, Indiana banned hoodies after an incident in a mall and they are one of ten states including New York with laws in some manner disenfranchising its wardrobe.
Before and after the George Zimmerman case, hoodies were somewhat demonized in the media, but many stood up for Martin, sharing photos of themselves in hoodies, including celebrities like Diddy, Jamie Foxx and the Miami Heat. Still, last year, the CBS show Stalker boldly used the image of a person blacked out except for said person’s dark grey hoodie, obviously implying that people who wear these are up to no good or trying to be discreet. Can you really put a law on people’s choice of clothing?
Sound off and let us know what you think. Is it okay for laws to tell us what we can or can’t wear?